Religious Spirit

matt_sorger_photo   by Matt Sorger

Jesus was very clear when He spoke about the religious spirit. He was referring to the Pharisees who were trying to achieve a sense of righteousness apart from grace, but rather through the Law. It was a self achieved righteousness, a self righteousness. Jesus also spoke about the hypocrisy of the Pharisees and the hypocrisy of the religious spirit. They were preaching commands to others that they were not walking in themselves. It was impossible to obey the whole Law completely.

There is only one thing that separates us from GRACE. The Law. Trying to achieve righteousness through works alone. I will say it again…there is only ONE THING that separates you from grace…the LAW.

Sin does not separate you from grace.
GRACE is not a license to sin and “get away with it.” Our sinful choices always have consequences. We reap only what we sow. The true grace I am talking about is the power and ability granted by the Holy Spirit who lives inside of us to live in a way that pleases God. It is coming boldly to the Lord to receive well timed help just when you need it. His grace doesn’t excuse your sin. His grace empowers you to say NO to sin and live holy, clean and pure and with a good attitude and lifestyle.

When you sin, you are not separated from grace. Rather…where sin abounds, grace does much more abound. God gives His help and grace to you to help you overcome your sin. He never leaves you alone! Isn’t that awesome!

There is a new “religious spirit” operating out there. Because people are using the term in an unbiblical way. When confronted in an area of ungodliness, I have heard people say “Well I am not religious.” No, you are right. You are not religious. You are rebellious.

People are masking a rebellious spirit by claiming not to be religious.
The fruit of your life. The outward demonstration of who you are inside is what reveals the true nature and character of your life. I know God judges by the heart and not the outward package so we need to be careful in making judgments based on what someone looks like on the outside. However, there is a balance in this. It is one thing for someone to just be saved and have come out of the world. Of course they may love God with all their heart and be ecstatic about their new relationship with God, but there is room for sanctification and transformation to happen as the Holy Spirit deals with areas of their lives. Eventually by the Spirit their outward life will conform to God’s heart. The way they dress, the music they listen to, the words they speak, the thoughts they think, the way they behave…will all start to line up with God’s nature and heart. This takes time. So we can’t be hasty to judge the outward.

However, this is very different than someone who has “walked with God” for years and may even be in positions of authority in the church. The bible is very clear what the qualifications for leadership are. You just have to read TITUS 1:7-16. You need to read this. Also 1 Tim 3:2-13. I think somewhere along the way we forgot about these verses of scripture. The bible is also clear that teachers of the word will be judged by a stricter judgment. That why Paul said that not many should become teachers. Read it in the amplified. James 3:1.

There is a place for discernment and godly “judgment”. It’s called accountability. As a teacher in the body of Christ, I know that I am accountable not only to God but also to the church for what and how I live. I minister with this awareness and sense of responsibility. I am accountable. We are all accountable, but leaders and teachers are even more accountable.

I have seen people live however they want to live and do it in the guise of being free from a religious spirit. If you confront them on their sinful behavior they accuse you of being “religious” and “judgmental.” Church, it is time to lift the standard of God’s word up again. It’s time for real accountability. It’s time to be sure the ones standing behind the pulpits have been tested and tried and are living a godly life. I have to admit, I am baffled and amazed at how many people endorse people and ministries who are living in rebellion and sin and “long” for them to be in the pulpit again as quickly as possible. I know we must walk in love and forgiveness, but we must also use wisdom and discernment. I implore the body of Christ in this hour to use discernment in who they follow and listen to.

What transference do you want? You have to understand that what you LIVE is what you TRANSFER. It goes much deeper than the words you speak. We impart what we live. Be careful that you don’t receive an impartation of rebellion that makes you feel you can behave however you want to with no accountability or consequences. God will not be mocked. A man reaps only what he sows.

The way you live DOES MATTER. If a leader is not living the word of God and is making excuses for their sin and rebellion, you should not follow that leader.

I am praying protection over the body of Christ and I am asking God to raise up godly leaders who move in power and can really set the example of what it is to be a “lover of God.”

I pray for you as you pray for me…that God would keep us close to His heart, keep sin and temptation away from us, and cause us to be innocent, pure and blameless before Him.

God bless,
Matt

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